Two of Scotland’s core agricultural institutes have announced a new collaboration which will focus on improving the health of the nation’s livestock to support long term food safety and security.
The Moredun Research Institute and Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) already work together but their new working partnership is expected to lead to closer involvement with practical farmers.
The institutes will form regional farmer membership groups early next year which will help direct new practical research on animal health and welfare as well as new technology. A programme of grassland research will also be introduced in 2018 which will focus on the productivity of grassland, especially in the north and west of Scotland.
SRUC chief executive Wayne Powell said the relationship with Moredun signalled a “step change” in the way that Scottish research institutes will work and collaborate in future.
“Underpinning this relationship is a fundamental shift in our approach to ‘doing business’ where we will seek to maximise opportunities to share facilities and expertise and create critical mass in selected areas of research where we have recognised strength or the potential to create world class presence and impact rapidly,” he said.
“This is a timely opportunity that will enable both organisations to position ourselves to better support our existing stakeholders, customers and future investors both within Scotland and globally.”
The Moredun’s chief executive, Julie Fitzpatrick added that some of the grand challenges facing the industry – including food security, environmental protection and a “one health” approach linking health of humans, animals and the environment – required teams of scientists working together to focus on areas of maximum impact.
She added: “SRUC and Moredun scientists will lead the way in developing new technologies and establishing routes to bring these to practical and commercial reality. Both organisations have extensive and longstanding links to farmers, land owners and others involved in custodianship of Scotland’s environment and our combined aim will be to support rural and urban communities across the country through research, development and knowledge exchange.”
As part of their joint activities, the SAC Consulting veterinary team based on the Bush Estate near Edinburgh will relocate to a shared laboratory facility at Moredun next year.
New cross-disciplinary collaborative teams will be established over the coming months to maximise the opportunities for securing new sources of investment from Scottish, UK, EU and global funders.